Thursday, May 12, 2005

Aaaaaaaargh, matey…

So the MPAA brought their latest round of lawsuits today, moving from movies to TV and attacking six of the big sites that let users download TV shows using BitTorrent. They can’t actually go after the makers of the BitTorrent software (unless the Supreme Court does something drastic next month when their expected Grokster decision comes down), and they can’t really stop the actual TV show copies from being out there, so all they can do is go after sites like the six they just attacked, which basically index the available shows.

As is always the case in the age of internet piracy, these tactics slow things down a little, but they don’t really stop anything. That’s particularly the case with BitTorrent, since the infringing/pirate/illegal/what-shall-you material is still out there in droves. (By way of contrast, when the RIAA went after Napster, some clever folks had to come up with new technological methods of sharing files before file-swapping could really pick back up again).

I’ll put it this way. In theory, I may have been a frequent user of one of the six attacked sites. Now that this site is down, this hypothetical-me would need to spend all of three minutes to find four alternative sites offering indexes/access to the same files.

A lot of folks out there have been downloading TV shows through BitTorrent, which is how it got on the MPAA’s radar. Now, maybe if they were to offer a comparable service, folks would flock to it. Remember how Napster and internet music piracy was going to ruin the record industry? And now iTunes is popular as all-can-do? There’s probably a lesson in there for the MPAA.

Look, if I could pay a buck or two to download a TV show to watch on my next plane ride, I would do so. But since that’s not an option, when I take my next flight, I’ll just have to fire up one of the BitTorrent sites that hasn’t been sued yet and download whatever in-flight entertainment I want. In theory and hypothetically, of course.


At 10:11 PM, Blogger EmoRiot said...

i want to revolt against my T.V. Tonight, the "season finale" of the Apprentice was on. It was hyped all week as "the season finale." It ended with no conclusion and showed scenes from next weeks "season finale."

There are subtleties and complexities in this world but there are very few constants. And one of those is there is only one season finale per season.

They either call next week the season epilogue... or they don't call this week the finale. Or they call every episode the season finale and enjoy high ratings throughout the season.

"Tonight on a very special season premiere/finale of Joey, Joey learns what's been going on during the last three part finale. It sets up perfectly for next weeks finale, which you'll never forget... until the finale the week after."

If they're suing us, who can we sue?

I'm gonna go download the Apprentice episode right now just to irk them! "Hey MPAA I only download fake finales so once your people stop calling them finales, I'll stop downloading."



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